Minister caps six authorities' budgets

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Five councils and a fire authority today had their budgets capped as Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford insisted there was "no excuse" for excessive council tax hikes.

Five councils and a fire authority today had their budgets capped as Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford insisted there was "no excuse" for excessive council tax hikes.

Torbay, Herefordshire, Nottingham, Shepway, Fenland and Hereford & Worcester Fire Authority had their proposed spending cut.

Mr Raynsford said: "We are keeping our promise to act on high council tax increases."

He also acted to limit next year's increase by several other authorities.

Those were Telford & Wrekin, Bedfordshire Fire, Durham Fire, Essex Fire, Nottinghamshire Fire, Cumbria Police, Northamptonshire Police and West Mercia Police.

Mr Raynsford said this was no "soft option".

"The nominated authorities have a clear message for next year - rein in your budgets next year, or face capping," he said.

"I want taxpayers to be reassured that they should not face excessive tax increases next year.

"Today's announcement shows all authorities the Government means business.

"We have increased funding to local Government by 30% since 1997.

"There is simply no justification for excessive tax increases - and, as we have shown today, we will take action where excessive increases are set.

"We hope that all authorities will take this message on board by setting prudent and reasonable council tax increases next year."

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